Experiments in Computer Science

Research in systems-oriented computer science involves the implementation of prototypes and their experimental evaluation. It is not uncommon, in particular for young researchers (means students), to spent most of their time on the implementation itself, spending little time on the evaluation of the system. Of course, it is then often too late to discover that a proper experimental evaluation of a system takes lots of time and effort. I am writing this in order to help people to avoid falling into this trap.

Time for the Journal of Opinionated Networking Research?

I have just enjoyed reading a paper where the author reports about a number of measurements he did and draws very clear ‘opinionated’ conclusions from the facts presented in the paper. This was such a refreshing read and I started to wonder why I found this so refreshing. It turns out that most networking papers I read (or have to read) either have lots of opinion but only a very few facts to support them or the papers have lots of facts but the authors refrain from articulating a clear conclusion and a clear opinion from the facts.

NETMOD Working Group

I have accepted an invitation to co-chair the [NETMOD Working Group] (https://datatracker.ietf.org/wg/netmod/) in the Operations and Management Area of the IETF. Almost exactly five years ago, I have been in a similar situation when I was asked to co-chair the ISMS Working Group in the Security Area of the IETF. I am still co-chairing ISMS - lets see how long my engagement with NETMOD is going to last…

IETF Store Opened

The IETF has just opened a store where you can buy official IETF logo wear. This is an interesting new move towards IETF sponsorship since some of the money of each item goes to the IETF. I have no clue how much money this brings, but surely there are a few observations I like to share: The shop, likely located in the UK, knows shipping rates to Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the USA and of course worldwide.

Home Networks of the Future

At the 81st IETF in Quebec, a new working group was formed to work on standards for home networks. During the kickoff meeting, a number of talks were delivered depicting a future where homes have an integrated network infrastructure comprising of several sub-networks (IPv6 of course ;-) interconnected by several routers and supported by multiple uplinks. Furthermore, a number of firewalls will be present to provide separation between the office network, the entertainment network, the kid’s network, the utility network, the home automation network, the health monitoring network, etc.

USB Considered Harmful

The Universal Serial Bus (USB) has been a great success. Almost all peripheral devices such as printers, keyboards, cameras, audio devices, disk drives, wireless interfaces can be easily connected using a standard plug. And of course, USB memory sticks have become a standard way of data exchange, replacing CDs and DVDs. But exactly here is the problem. Some companies are rightfully afraid of leaking sensitive data and with the appearance of fast small USB memory sticks, the USB interface has been identified as a problem.

Electronic Signatures in Accordance to Federal Law

While uploading a paper today, I was directed to the new IEEE online copyright transfer site. To sign the electronic form, I had to type my name. The legal basis for this form of electronic signature was given as well: By clicking this button, you certify that such action constitutes your electronic signature to the IEEE Copyright Form in accordance with Federal Law, which authorizes electronic signature by authenticated request from a user over the internet as a valid substitute for a written signature.

Properly citing RFCs and I-Ds

Today, an Internet-Draft (I-D) was posted with the goal to clarify how to cite Requests for Comments (RFCs). The suggested BiBTeX format is relatively close to what I happen to use for about 15 years. But the final word, of course, has not been spoken about this and there are some interesting questions one can ask. For example, since RFCs fail to represent author names properly (unless your parents were wise enough to give you a name that is 7-bit US ASCII compatible), the question arises whether a citation in publications that do allow the proper representation of names (almost all journals and conferences) MAY use a person’s native spelling of his name or whether one MUST use the spelling in the published RFC.

Traveling in Space and Time (or Trains in Europe)

I had to go to Brussels for a project review and as usual I preferred to travel by train. When I left home, I checked my connection and the Internet told me the trains run on time. About an hour later, when I reached the main station in downtown Bremen, I learned that my train got canceled. This meant an hour waiting time for the next train to arrive and plus the (usual) delay we accumulated during the trip to Cologne.

Homework 2.0

My first contact to the Internet was in the late 1980s (ftp.funet.fi was our big friend at that time). If someone back then would have told me that in 2010 I will be discussing math homework with my daughter over the Internet, with me being in China and she being at home in Germany, I likely would have called this person crazy. Boy, did the world change during the last 20+ years.